Project Summaries

04-448CA  Project Manager: D. C. Jones

COUNTY TRIALS FOR APPROVED ACALA VARIETIES

Robert B. Hutmacher, University of California, Davis

A primary function of these trials is to provide testing a broad range of Upland varieties. In 2012 the trials consist of: (a) grower field trials at multiple locations; and (b) one small plot trials at the University of California West Side Research and Extension Center in Fresno County, California. The other past site at the USDA-ARS Cotton Research Station in Kern County is no longer available due to the June, 2012 closure of the USDA-ARS station at Shafter. Seed companies this year indicated that they would not provide separate new Acala varieties for testing due to the limited acreage of growers and uncertainty in demand for these varieties. With this in mind for 2012 plantings, the tests remain a mix of available official Acala cotton varieties (determined and approved through the SJV Cotton Board program) plus other entries provided through the seed companies interested in Upland variety testing.

The small plot trials have 4 replications with plots 4 rows in width by 60 to 70 feet in length (depending upon seed availability and locations used for the trials). The test sites at the West Side Research and Extension Center in Fresno County were planted in late April this year. The goals of the project were to provide trial sites for testing a large number of entries of potential interest to seed companies and growers with entries chosen to assess relative performance in SJ Valley settings and areas where Uplands/Acalas have continuing commercial interest. If in the future limited entries or no emphasis is placed on a testing program of the SJV Cotton Board (highly likely as of the time of preparation of this report), then variety test efforts represented by this project may represent the primary remaining Acala and non-Acala Upland variety public testing program for California cotton.

Planted acreage of both Acala and non-Acala Uplands were much higher in 2011 than in the prior two years, with over 140,000 acres showing up in reports, but acreages settled down to a more moderate acreage 120,000 acres in final numbers for the 2012 production year. Acala and Upland acreage continues to be far less than Pima. There are tradeoffs in shifting to Pima (typically reductions in yields) and in shifts to non-Acala Uplands (typically lower price for lint), and growers need reliable, unbiased information regarding expected lint yields and fiber quality in order to make reasonable, lower-risk decisions.  The San Joaquin Valley Cotton Board will remain the avenue for varieties to enter our "Approved Variety" testing program, but the current interest level in Acalas and non-Acala Upland cotton varieties is strongest where there is a long history of significant yield performance differences between Pima and Upland cotton and where there is seed company interest in planting seed production.

Summaries of prior year trial results are available at (http://cottoninfo.ucdavis.edu). When final summaries are complete for 2012 trials, we will also put seed cotton yields, gin turnouts, lint yields, and fiber quality information averages on the same website. In addition, results are presented at the Cotton Workgroup meetings and at winter and spring grower/PCA meetings of the University of California. Results of the trials will be reported in winter meetings of the UCCE Specialist and Farm Advisors, and will be available in a printable form (pdf or Word) as full tables on the University of California cotton web site: http://cottoninfo.ucdavis.edu

Only seedcotton yield averages will be available at the time of preparation of this report. Due to the closure of the Shafter research facility in May-June of 2012 and ongoing efforts to sign a sub-lease with the owners of the current owners of the Shafter property (Kern County - owners, San Joaquin Valley Quality Cotton Growers - lease holders), we have not yet been able to gain access to either the research gin or laboratory/storage space as of late January, 2013. All samples from variety trials for determination of gin turnout and HVI quality testing have been retained and stored in a safe location. We are hopeful that negotiations and rental agreements will be concluded by early February so that we can gin all the samples from field trials and submit samples to USDA for hvi analyses.

All entries were harvested by machine. Subsamples from all field replications will be ginned at the Shafter Research or small samples run through the hand mini-gin. HVI data will be collected at the USDA Classing office in Visalia, CA.  Entries included in the field trials in 2012 include the following planted at West Side REC locations (CA Upland Advanced Strains trials) and at West Side and grower locations (UC/SJV Cotton Board Acala/Upland trials).  All fields were in relatively good shape at harvest this year, with better than average yields at most sites due to favorable early and mid summer weather and below average insect and mite pest issues at the UC West side REC site and at grower sites in Kern, Tulare, Fresno and Merced Counties. Plant map data was collected on select varieties in September, 2012, followed by harvest and ginning sample evaluations.  Results of trials will be available at the same UC cotton web site mentioned for prior year results.

In the Advanced Strains CA Upland variety trials, there were two entries with statistically higher seedcotton yields than the Acala standard (Phy-72) in the test, which averaged 6648 lbs seedcotton/acre. The variety "12R242 B2R2" averaged 743 lbs/acre (12% higher than Phy-72), while the variety "BX 1347 GLB2" averaged 7193 (8% higher than Phy-72). Although not statistically different than Phy-72 yields, averages were higher in the following varieties (11R112-B2R2, 12R244-R2, BX1346-GLB2, FM1944-GLB2, ST5445-LLB2, PHY-499-WRF, 12R215-B2R2, PHY375-WRF, PHY-725WRF, and DP0912-B2RF).

In the grower site Acala and Upland trials the overall averages across sites did not demonstrate any non-Acala Uplands that out-yielded the dominant prevailing Acala varieties, Phy-72 or Phy-725 RF. Phytogen-725RF was the highest yielding variety in the across location averages in the grower site trials, and also topped the yield averages in the test location at the UC West Side Research and Extension Center.

 

Project Year: 2012
 

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